Mark 1:9-11 – The Baptism of Jesus
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
I have long felt that we have “calmed down” the sacraments far too much. Sharing the Lord’s Supper often feels like we have to be so very serious in how we serve and distribute that it does not feel like the celebratory meal that the liturgy speaks of – “people will come from east and west and sit at table in the Kingdom of God!” Similarly with Baptism – it is a beautiful thing to share with an individual or with a family – a celebration of God’s mark upon each of our lives. One of my seminary professors in my “Word and Act in Christian Worship” class shared (as we were practicing how to do a baptism), “don’t be afraid to get em wet!” God’s grace and mercy is an overflowing blessing and Baptism represents this and enacts this – so why just a few sprinkles on the head and not “getting em wet”? I love the way that the NRSV translates the baptism of Jesus – the heavens were torn apart and the Spirit descended – this was a BIG DEAL – not just a small act, but a major step as a part of Jesus’ ministry. The pronouncement that followed is a similarly big deal – its announcing to the world who this person is and that something new and wondrous was coming. So, the next time you see a baptism, don’t be afraid to tell the pastor to make a big splash because God sure did.